5ac51740de3fcfbcba7b9df613e787fc  In 1985, Jim had run into a financial crisis in his life. He needed thousands of dollars to start a publishing company to bail himself and his family out of debt. Credit cards and financial sources were tapped out. There was no one to turn to, no money in his bank. He thought he was  finished.

            The one untouched asset that he had was a $125,000 life insurance policy. His solution seemed obvious, suicide. As for killing himself, this was not a moral dilemma to him because he did not believe in God:  no problem with eternal judgment, right? So, suicide just seemed to be the right business decision to make for his family and himself. His plan was not complicated. He would enjoy one last weekend with his wife and two children; and then, commit suicide via an  accident on the following Monday evening.

So, on May 20, 1985, he finished up a few jobs in the morning and early afternoon. Then, for some reason, he stopped at an insurance agent’s office where he met Bill, who was a childhood friend. They spoke about their children’s athletic interests; they were not intimate friends and had never really talked with each other, but this visit was a divine appointment. In the midst of their conversation, Bill looked at him and said, “You are thinking about committing suicide, aren’t you?”

His words hit him like a sledgehammer. How did he know? He told no one. It was his secret $125,000 payday. He was speechless. As he sat there, a vision played across his mind of his car ramming into a bridge viaduct and killing him. Tears rolled down his cheeks, he tried to regain his composure, but he could not.  “How do you know?” he asked. “Oh,” Bill said, “the Lord told me while we were talking to each other.”

Bill’s words shattered his unbelief, to know that God was alive and cared about him. They continued talking for a time. Then, Bill gave him a book entitled, ‘Power in Praise’ by Merlin Carothers and suggested that he read it.

When he arrived home, he began reading the book. After a few pages, he walked into the bathroom, closed the door and knelt in front of the sink. Looking into the mirror, he prayed, “Jesus, I’ve tried everything in my life, and they haven’t worked. I guess I’ll give You a try!” Instantly, he was changed. No longer there was fear and shame, but joy and hope filled his heart. Bowing and worshiping his new King, he prayed almost verbatim the poem, Footprints in the Sand, as a promise that he would never let go of Jesus. Never.

For the following two weeks, the Lord performed one miracle after another in his life. Investors appeared with $50,000 for the publishing company. The stockholders elected him as the President. A new car was purchased. Their mortgage payments were paid up to date. When God arrived on the scene, things happened quickly. And yet, it had been in the valleys of despair where the Lord had truly revealed Himself to him. He became his loving Father. He learned to trust God.  He learned that His grace was sufficient. And that God is a good God.